Will Russell Westbrook finish this season with 2,000 shot attempts?

Russell Westbrook is the favorite to win the NBA’s MVP Award this season. He is averaging a triple-double this season (31.8 points per game to go along with 10.7 rebounds and 10.4 assists per contest). He could become only the second player (since Oscar Robertson) to average a triple-double in a season, and could overtake the Big “O” for most triple-doubles in a season.

Here’s another stat about Westbrook: With four games remaining, Westbrook has attempted 1,874 shots, or about 24 per game. He would need to fire up 116 shots in his final four contests to become the 11th player in NBA history to attempt 2,000 or more shots in a regular season. He’s on a pace for 1,970, so he’ll have to take closer to 30 shots per game in those last four games to reach 2,000.

Here’s a look at some other stats re: players to have attempted 2,000 or more shots in a season:

  • The last player to attempt 2,000 shots in an NBA season was Kobe Bryant in 2005-06. He took 2,173 shots that year.
  • There have been 21 seasons where a player took 2,000 shots. That was accomplished by 10 players (Westbrook could become the 11th player). Wilt Chamberlain had the most 2,000-shot seasons with six. Elvin Hayes is next on the list with three campaigns.

With 1,874 shots this season, Westbrook became the 42nd different player to reach 1,750 shots in a season (it has happened 90 times in the history of the NBA). Michael Jordan did it 10 times to top the list, followed by Wilt with seven, Kareem Abdu-Jabbar, Elgin Baylor, Alex English and Dominique Wilkins with five such seasons, and Elvin Hayes and Allen Iverson with four seasons each with 1,750 shot attempts.

Of the 90 occasions/seasons when a player attempted 1,750 shots, Westbrook’s .426 field goal percentage ranks as the 11th lowest of the 90. Kobe Bryant is also the last player to reach 1,750 shots in a season; he did it in 2006-07.

It doesn’t look like any other player this season with join Westbrook in the 1,750-shot club; New Orleans’ Anthony Davis has taken the second most shots this year with 1,499 and DeMar DeRozan follows with 1,498. Nine other players this year have attempted 1,400 or more shots this season.

The most players to reach 1,750 shot attempts in an NBA season is seven. That was done twice… in 1962 and 1973.

Madison Bumgarner makes Opening Day history with his bat

Madison Bumgarner is good, really good. We know he is one of the top pitchers in the majors. But he also made MLB history by hitting two home runs on Opening Day (April 2, 2017).

Bumgarner hit a pair of homers in the Giants Opening Day game versus the Arizona Diamondbacks. He became the 21st pitcher to homer on his team’s Opening Day, but the first to hit two dingers in his team’s first game of the season.

The last pitcher to homer on Opening Day was Clayton Kershaw in 2013 for the Dodgers against the Giants. Another former Dodgers hurler, Don Drysdale, homered on Opening Day twice in his career, the only pitcher to do so in MLB history.

Let’s take a look at some other Opening Day home run notes:

  • Three players have hit three home runs on Opening Day: George Bell for Toronto in 1988; Tuffy Rhodes for the Cubs in 1994; and Dmitri Young for Detroit in 2005. All three of these games were played on April 4.
  • Seven different players hit two or more home runs on Opening Day twice: Joe Torre, Albert Pujols, Xavier Nady, Ral Mondesi, Eddie Mathews, Juan Gonzalez and Adam Dunn.
  • The most Opening Day home runs in MLB history is eight held by three players… Dunn, Ken Griffey, Jr., and Frank Robinson. Next with seven are Babe Ruth, Willie Mays and Eddie Mathews. Those players with six Opening Day HRs are Dave Winfield, Scott Rolen, Gary Carter, Carl Yastrzemski, Brooks Robinson, Richie Hebner and Barry Bonds. There are 20 players who have five Opening Day homers.

The Brewers have had an Opening Day home run hit by 43 different players in franchise history. Eight players have hit an Opening Day homer on two occasions: Jeff Cirillo, Carlos Gomez, Larry Hisle, Sixton Lezcano, Ben Oglivie, Richie Sexson, Greg Vaughn and Robin Yount. Only one Brewers players has hit a pair of home runs in the team’s first game of the year: Lezcano hit a pair of HRs on April 10 against Baltimore on April 10, 1980 in the Brewers 9-5 win over the Orioles. Lezcano had six RBI in that contest.

Follow Jerry on Twitter @StatsonTapp

Which seeds will play for the NCAA Final Four championship?

The NCAA men’s basketball Final Four begins Saturday with two games… the winners will advance to the championship game on Monday night.

There is a possibility that two number one seeds will face off in the title game: Number one Gonzaga faces #7 South Carolina in one semi-final game and North Carolina, the other #1 seed, will play #3 Oregon in the other contest.

Over the past 37 years (since 1980) of the tournament, a #1 seed has played in the championship game in 27 of the 37 games. But a #1 seed versus another #1 seed is not the most frequent seed matchup in the title game. It has happened seven times since 1980; the most frequent matchup, however, has been a #1 seed versus a #2 seed… that has occurred nine times since 1980.

Here’s a breakdown of the seed matchups in the NCAA men’s basketball (Division I) title game since 1980 (last 37 years).

9 times: #1 seed versus #2 seed
7 times: #1 seed versus #1 seed
6 times: #2 seed versus #3 seed
3 times: #1 seed versus #4 seed
3 times: #1 seed versus #5 seed
3 times: #1 seed versus #6 seed
1 time: #1 seed versus #3 seed
1 time: #1 seed versus #8 seed
1 time: #2 seed versus #8 seed
1 time: #3 seed versus #3 seed
1 time: #3 seed versus #8 seed
1 time: #7 seed versus #8 seed

A number #1 seed has won the championship in 21 of the last 37 years in the Div. I men’s tourney. Number 2 seeds have won six titles… the #3 seeds have won five times… and the #6 seed has won twice. The #4, #7 and #8 seeds have each won once since 1980.

In addition to winning the most titles since ’80, the #1 seeds have also lost the most titles with 13. They are followed by #2 seeds (10 losses), #3 seeds (five losses), #5 seeds and #8 seeds (three losses each), #4 seeds (two losses), and #6 seeds (one loss).

A title game featuring #3 Oregon versus #7 South Carolina would be only the fourth time since 1980 where both teams in the finale were a #3 seed or lower.

Getting eliminated in the first round of the NBA playoffs

As the 2016-17 NBA season winds down, teams are starting to jockey for playoff spots. Those bound for the playoffs are trying to improve their position, while those sitting on the outside of the playoff picture at this time of the season are looking to make a final run to secure a post-season spot.

Is making the NBA playoffs important for teams? My guess is that most fans and team personnel would answer with a resounding, “Yes!”

But what if your team made the playoffs and was immediately eliminated in the first round? Does that matter? Would it have been better to not even make the playoffs if your team was going to get eliminated right away?

Maybe not real easy questions to answer. But let’s take a look at the first-round elimination in the NBA, especially since 2000. Specifically, let’s look at how often each team has been eliminated in the first round of the NBA playoffs since 2000.

The Denver Nuggets have made the playoffs 10 times since 2000. But they have been eliminated in the first round in nine of those seasons, most of any team this century. The only year they got past the first round was in 2009 when they made it to the Western Conference Finals. That nine out of ten times (90%) is the highest percentage of any team eliminated in the first round since 2000. The Milwaukee Bucks have made the playoffs eight times since 2000, but they have been eliminated in the first round in seven of those eight seasons, a 87.5% rate, second highest in the league.

Here’s a look at the number of times each team has been eliminated in the first round of the NBA playoffs since 2000. (The number listed in parenthesis is the number of season they made the playoffs since 2000.)

9: Denver (10)
8: Dallas (15)
7: Houston (9), Milwaukee (8), Portland (10)
6: Chicago (10), Indiana (12), Memphis (9), Orlando (9), Toronto (8)
5: Boston (12), New Orleans (6), Philadelphia (9), Utah (9)
4: Atlanta (9), Charlotte (6), Miami (13), Minnesota (5), New York Knicks (6), San Antonio (17)
3: Brooklyn (9), Detroit (10), L.A. Lakers (13), Oklahoma City (9), Phoenix (8), Sacramento (7), Washington (6)
2: L.A. Clippers (6)
1: Golden State (5)
0: Cleveland (7)

As you probably noticed from the numbers above, the San Antonio Spurs are the only team to make the playoffs every year this century followed by Dallas with 15 of the 17 seasons. At the other end are the Minnesota Timberwolves, and surprisingly, the Golden State Warriors, who have been in the NBA upper echelon over the past few seasons.

Follow Jerry on Twitter @StatsonTapp


Last season each MLB team finished in last place

Last season the Atlanta Braves were one of six teams to finish in last place in their division. What makes this all the more interesting is that it was their first year in last place since 1990, a span of 26 years!

The other five teams that finished in last place were Cincinnati, Minnesota, Oakland, San Diego and Tampa Bay. For Oakland and Cincinnati, they also finished in last place in 2015. The Twins last season as a cellar-dweller was in 2014; the Padres last time was in 2011; and the Rays last finished in last place in their division in 2007.

Over the last three seasons, 13 of the 30 MLB teams finished in last place in their division in at least one season. But it’s interesting to note that five MLB teams have not finished in last place in their division this century (since 2000) and two of those five (the New York Yankees and St. Louis Cardinals) have not finished in last place since 1990.

Following is a look at the last season each of the 30 MLB teams finished in last place in their division.

1990: New York Yankees, St. Louis Cardinals
1991: Cleveland
1992: Los Angeles Dodgers
1999: Los Angeles Angels
2003: New York Mets
2004: Milwaukee
2007: San Francisco
2010: Kansas City, Pittsburgh, Washington
2011: Baltimore
2012: Seattle
2013: Chicago White Sox, Houston, Miami, Toronto
2014: Arizona, Chicago Cubs, Texas
2015: Boston, Colorado, Detroit, Philadelphia
2016: Atlanta, Cincinnati, Minnesota, Oakland, San Diego, Tampa Bay

Follow Jerry on Twitter @StatsonTapp